Angry Metal Primer – Ayreon

Over 40 years of metal’s biological urge (and a hefty lack of restraint) has resulted in some incomprehensibly large catalogs. No one should have to listen to anywhere from 13 to 15 [Luca Turilli’s] Rhapsody [of Fire] albums just to get caught up for a new release. So whenever the fancy strikes us, we’re offering a selection of prime(r)(er) cuts to get you up to speed. Without further ado, welcome to…

“Prolific Dutch multi-instrumentalist Arjen Anthony Lucassen has now been constructing over-the-top progressive rock/metal opera concept double albums with dozens of guest musicians for twenty-five years and shows little sign of toning it down any time soon. Fortunately, Arjen’s skills as a composer and producer mean he can carry off this sort of excess, though in any other hands it would be excruciating. Ayreon, his primary project, mostly tells a complex sci-fi B-movie story about aliens influencing the development of humanity. Musically, the progressive metal core is mixed with everything from folk to industrial to ambient electronica. Tonally it varies from straight-faced to maximum B-movie ham (though the lyrics are rarely subtle in any sense).

Matters are further complicated by Arjen’s bevy of side projects (one of which is set in the main Ayreon fictional universe, to make things even more confusing). Transitus, the upcoming album, was originally not going to be billed as an Ayreon album. It’s less metal than most of the others and not a part of the main Ayreon storyline, and so I have chosen to include excerpts from some of the more relevant side projects as well.”


  • The Final Experiment (1995)
    – “Dreamtime”
    – “Merlin’s Will”
  • Actual Fantasy (1996)
    – “Computer Eyes”
  • Into the Electric Castle (1998)
    – “Valley of the Queens”
    – “The Castle Hall”
    – “Evil Devolution”
  • The Universal Migrator Part I: The Dream Sequencer (2000)
    – “My House on Mars”
    – “And the Druids Turn to Stone”
  • The Universal Migrator Part II: Flight of the Migrator (2000)
    – “Dawn of a Million Souls”
    – “Into the Black Hole”
  • The Human Equation (2004)
    – “Day Three: Pain”
    – “Day Six: Childhood”
    – “Day Sixteen: Loser”
  • 01011001  (2008)
    – “Age of Shadows”
    – “River of Time”
  • Guilt Machine – On This Perfect Day (2009)
    – “Season of Denial”
  • Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Lost in the New Real (2012)
    – “E-Police”
    – “Yellowstone Memorial Day”
    – “Where Pigs Fly”
  • The Theory of Everything (2013)
    – “The Theory of Everything Part 1”
    – “The Teacher’s Discovery”
    – “Alive”
    – “The Prediction”
  • The Gentle Storm – The Diary (2015)
    – “Heart of Amsterdam (Gentle version)”
    – “Shores of India (Gentle version)”
    – “The Storm (Storm version)”
  • The Source (2017)
    – “Everybody Dies”
    – “Deathcry of a Race”
    – “Bay of Dreams”

Ayreon‘s 11th album Transitus will be released on September 25th worldwide via Music Theories Recordings.

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